Oracle Must Arbitrate Java Dispute

Software giant Oracle America, Inc. has to play nice with Myriad, a Swiss mobile software company.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Friday that Oracle can be compelled to arbitrate its copyright and trademark infringement claims against Myriad over Java computer programming language.

Because the two companies incorporated the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law arbitration rules into their commercial contract, that’s “clear and unmistakable evidence” the two sides intended to delegate what claims may be arbitrated to an arbitrator.

The ruling strengthens this position by joining two other circuits that have come to similar conclusions, the 2nd Circuit in New York and the D.C. Circuit in Washington, D.C.

Java Runtime Environment allows computers to work across different platforms and promotes computer compatibility.  Oracle, which bought rights to Java from Sun Microsystems, has a community licensing program that allows access to the computer language and rights to Java trademarks in exchange for royalties.

Myriad maintained that it had a separate agreement that gave it rights to Java without paying royalties.  Oracle disagrees.

In 2010, Oracle sued in federal court in San Francisco and Myriad responded by asking the court compel Oracle to arbitrate the issues.

U.S. District Judge Saundra Armstrong declined to order arbitration in 2012.  But the 9th Circuit reversed.

“We see no reason to deviate from the prevailing view that incorporation of the UNCITRAL arbitration rules is clear and unmistakable evidence that the parties agreed the arbitrator would decide arbitrability,” wrote Judge Morgan Christen.

Case:  Oracle America, Inc., v. Myriad Group, No. 11-17186



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